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Exotic Mosquito Interception at Auckland Port

Exotic Mosquito Interception at Auckland Port

Exotic mosquitoes have been found by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Quarantine staff during routine inspection at the Ports of Auckland of a used cement-processing machine being imported from Malaysia.

The species has been identified as Aedes albopictus, also known as the Asian tiger mosquito. This species is of concern because it may be a vector (transmitter) a number of diseases of public health significance, such as Chikungunya, Dengue fever, Eastern equine encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis, Ross River virus disease, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis, and yellow fever.

The larvae and a pupa were found in a used cement-processing machine, which had been off-loaded from the MV Tasman Challenger. Mature larvae, pupae and an emerging adult mosquito were found on Wednesday 8 December 2004, after the ship had docked in Auckland.

Ministry of Health Chief Technical Officer for biosecurity (Health) Sally Gilbert said the cement processing machine where the organisms were found were immediately treated with chlorine, then subsequently with other insecticides Bti and permagas.

"We're confident that these measures would have eradicated any other mosquitoes in the cement processing machine, but the Auckland Regional Public Health Service has implemented a programme of enhanced surveillance. Health protection staff are checking the surrounding area and placing a number of adult and larval mosquito traps in the vicinity," said Ms Gilbert. . Exotic mosquitoes of public health significance have been intercepted on 32 occasions since January 1998.

Ms Gilbert said it was of concern to find the mosquito because of the implications it would hold for public health should it become established in New Zealand.

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